Never Odd or Even, by O. V. Michaelsen (ed.)

February 21, 2011 at 12:14 (Book Reviews, English Language, Poorly Rated Books) (, , , , )


Unfortunately, this book was rather poorly edited. It promised so much! Perhaps a compendium of palindromes and anagrams. Maybe the history of such words, or a history of word puzzles. Could it be significant ways in which the English language has developed, or notable ways in which language puzzles have affected global events? Well, sort of. Because this book does not really stick at any of the above. There are lists, of course, if you like that sort of thing. But they’re incomplete and rather scattered, random lists. There are tidbits of information sprinkled liberally throughout, with useful facts and amusing statistics. The problem is, none of these are arranged in a well-indexed fashion. They are mixed up together in a bedlam of half-finished did-you-knows. Just as you might find a meaty paragraph to get into, you’ll have a five-page list thrown your way. In fact, it’s not even a good coffee table book, because it manages to be just about wordy enough to scare off the casual page flipper. One for the bookshelf, then, but it’ll gather dust.


  1. Ove Ofteness (aka O.V. Michaelsen) said,

    A lot of work went into Never Odd or Even. A better judge of that book would be someone in the field of wordplay.

    The Revised Edition of my soon-t-be-released book _Rhymestorming: Bolts from the Blue_ would appeal to more people, if given the chance.

    The original verses from Rhymestorming:

    Here’s hoping that THIS one will hit the spot.

    I HATE negative reviews.


    • J. Holsworth Stevenson said,

      I’m sure a lot of work went into that book! I’m willing to concede that a big problem with it might have been an uncertainly-targeted demographic. At times it seemed very much a coffee-table book for the casual riffler; other times it appeared to be more of a collection; but it also tasted quite like a piece of academia.

      As you’ll notice in the review above, I did admit that the chief difficulty was with the editing, and not the content. Good luck with the new book, sir.

  2. Ove Ofteness said,

    I agree with you about the editing. If only I’d had more say about the three titles and presentation of the books published by Sterling.

    The revision of Rhymestorming will be liberating, as was the first edition.

    Thank you.

    Ove Ofteness / O.V. Michaelsen

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